Monday, 17 August 2015

Sojourn by Jana Oliver **Review**

Series: Time Rovers #1
Pages: 367
Publisher: Dragon Moon Press
Release date: 1st May 2006
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Goodreads synopsis:
Winner of 7 awards including the prestigious Prism Award for Time Travel

London, September 1888. An aged Queen Victoria rules. The threat of anarchy hovers in the air. A new kind of evil lurks in the back alleys of Whitechapel. Enter Jacynda Lassiter, a Time Rover on a mission—find an overdue ‘tourist’ and return him to 2057 before he changes history.

Victorian London is a dangerous place for the unwary. Mysterious shape-shifters haunt the streets, making friend and foe indistinguishable. When a fellow Time Rover is murdered, Jacynda’s mission becomes personal. Can she trust the two gentlemen who come to her aid, or do they harbor their own dark secrets?

In a few days, Jack the Ripper will add to his bloody legacy. But old Jack isn’t the only threat in Whitechapel. Unless Jacynda can outwit a madman, her Victorian sojourn will rewrite history—and end at the point of a blade.

Occasionally I will start a book without reading the synopsis or having known anything about the story in the first place. Sojourn is a fantastic example of when this worked. I started reading it because I’d forgotten my book on a day at work, and decided to remedy the situation by downloading the Kindle App to my laptop and downloading one of my purchased books.
After employing the eeny-meeny-miney-mo tactic, I finally settled on Sojourn. Not that I was upset about this – I read the Demon Trapper’s Daughter series a couple of years ago and adored it, so I had high hopes for Sojourn, even though it seemed like it would be an entirely different sort of journey.

The first couple of chapters, I admit, did make me question whether or not I had made the right decision in choosing Sojourn. The book opens in Pompeii, shortly before the famous volcano eruption destroyed the town and its people. Although this scene is action-packed and really gripping, and it’s immediately clear that the characters don’t belong there, when they arrive back in 2057 (the year that the main character, Cynda, is from) I started to struggle a little.
However, it didn’t take long for that worry to dissipate. Before I knew it, I was fully emerged in the story, engaged with and invested in the characters and loving travelling through time with Cynda.

The main story begins when Cynda – a time rover for TIC (Time Immersion Company) – returns from Pompeii and is sent straight back through the timeline to Victorian London, when Jack the Ripper is spreading fear through the streets of Whitechapel, to find a missing ‘tourist’ and return him to 2057. Cynda is not happy, but has no choice but to go to one of her most hated periods in history – and right in the middle of the Ripper’s killing spree.
Once there, she soon discovers that there is much more going on than she had been told, and not only does it involve a missing tourist, her lover, Chris, is also missing somewhere in Victorian London, and she has arrived only a couple of days before the Ripper strikes another time (exactly when Rovers and Tourists are not allowed to be there).

While Cynda was immersed in a different time, I was immersed in her story. It was so easy to become involved in her life, and in the lives of the Victorians she meets. Their stories are both refined and gritty enough to suit the time period, and filled with drama, danger and just a smidgen of romance – in my opinion, the perfect recipe for a gripping read. Add to that the story of Jack the Ripper and what you have is a real page-turner.
There are little clues littered throughout the story, such as odd characters that linger in the background, and little snippets of conversation, that lead us to the eventual twist, but without giving too much away. I really didn’t expect the twist, even when I thought I would be able to.

The characters are fantastic – from the adventurous to the kind-hearted, devious to the downright villainous, I loved reading them all. They were the perfect companions for an adventure through time and I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationships and personal journeys develop in the next book!

The Time Rovers trilogy is already shaping up to be a fantastic read! Although I’m not enjoying it quite as much as I did with the Demon Trapper’s Daughter series, I’m still very much engrossed in the story and will definitely be continuing to read! If you love time travel, historical fiction or science-fiction, then this series is definitely for you! Technically an adult read, I see no reason why teenagers and fans of YA would not enjoy it – it’s fun, compelling and has all the right ingredients.


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